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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Sleeping, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 102 > Articles > Generating A Cool Adventure: How To Make a Hero

Generating A Cool Adventure: How To Make a Hero

by stoneman3x

ADVENTURE GENERATOR - A question I get asked a lot is "Can you give me a paint brush?". But I know that the question these people are really asking is, "How do I write a story that won't bore people to death and has a halfway fair shot at either getting published or getting a good rating on the Adventure Generator?" The truth is, it's easy to come up with a good idea for a story. But you have to do something else first. You have to have interesting characters.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. This isn't exactly a new subject. A lot of articles have given outlines for developing characters or creating personalities for your pets. But I'm going to go one step further here. I'm going to tell you exactly what kinds of characters you need for your stories. Every story has to have certain types of characters in order to be even remotely interesting. Almost every story has the same basic plot. Good gets in trouble for a short time, but eventually conquers evil. What makes each story unique is HOW your characters react to the trouble they are in and how they react to each other.

CREATING AN ORDINARY HERO

There are two types of hero. The ordinary guy who is placed in a unusual situation, and a superhero, who pretty much fights evil for a living. If you want to go for the ordinary guy-type-hero, here are the qualities he should have:

He should start out pretty pathetic. A good job for an ordinary guy is a janitor or a librarian or something. He should be on the loveable side, and maybe even slightly ditzy. The idea is that he will become stronger and more streetwise as he goes along and by the time he is out of the trouble he is in, he is practically a superhero. Giving your hero at least one little quirk makes him different. It can be something that seems simple, like being allergic to asparagus. If you can work his allergy to asparagus into the story and make it an important detail, it can be a fun plot twist. Ordinary guys get into trouble two ways. They either happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, or they have something the bad guy needs.

Let's say you have decided that your villain is a mad scientist and that your hero is a janitor. The hero is a quiet kind of guy who can only chew gum for exactly five minutes before he swallows it unless he spits it out first. The villain is a screaming nutcase. All you have to do is imagine how these two people could meet up and you have a story. The first thing that pops into my head is that the janitor unwittingly wads up his bubble gum in a piece of paper in a high school lab he is cleaning up. It turns out the mad scientist is posing as a chemistry teacher to cover the demented project he is working on. The janitor has now accidentally stolen a page of the mad scientist's secret formula. You have a great story to develop and all you had to do is think of how to get these two guys together.

CREATING A SUPER HERO

A hero doesn't have to wear a spandex costume or have super powers in order to fall into this category. But he does have to be basically superior to the people around him. If he is just really good at twirling around a sword, that's often good enough. Unlike the ordinary hero, who fights evil or who needs to get out of a jam because of a weird twist of fate, the superhero actually goes hunting for trouble. If someone else is in trouble, it's the superhero that shows up automatically to help out. Superheroes are obsessed with truth, justice and helping out the poor and downtrodden. He is far less likely to have a normal job, unless it's something that allows him to know what's going on over the whole planet, like being a newspaper reporter or a whip-carrying archaeologist. But more likely a superhero is either very rich or has a really rich sponsor who buys him cool weapons that you could never hope to have in real life. Like an atomic tea biscuit of ultimate destruction.

Superheroes can be harder to create a story for because they have deep-seated issues with a certain villain or two. So it's more important to find something to write about that will showcase their special abilities. If your superhero can fly, for example, maybe you should mess up his flying ability for half of your story to make things interesting for him. Let's say that Dr. Sloth is working on a new space station that is even twice as large as the old one. Your superhero wants to fly up there and destroy it before Dr. Sloth has it working to full capacity. But Dr. Sloth has slipped asparagus juice into the superhero's hot cocoa. Since your superhero is allergic to asparagus, this totally wrecks his ability to fly. Now all you have to do is figure out how to get your superhero to the space station in the nick of time and you have a wonderful, action-packed adventure. It may be a slightly weird action-packed adventure, but it's wonderful nonetheless.

CREATING AN ANTI-HERO

The anti-hero is by far the most fun type of hero. This guy is a social outcast. The sort of guy who wants the entire world to leave him alone, but the moment anything even remotely female screams he will jump off of his motorcycle and make a Coco Whip Slushie out of anybody who happens to wearing a name tag that says, "Hello, my name is Bully." The thing that makes an anti-hero so much more fun than a normal hero is that he can do really mean and selfish things. He can be rude and sarcastic. But because he saves the day at the end of the story, he is considered a good guy. Anti-heroes almost never agree to do anything in the beginning unless they are paid first. Yet they always manage change their minds about it halfway through the story because the screaming female has a nice smile. They also have a whole different set of villains after them which causes even more trouble for the people they are paid to help.

In order to give you an idea of how an anti-hero works, let's go back to that gum-chewing janitor scenario. An anti-hero would be hunting for a place to stick his gum in the insane Chemistry teacher's lab and would happen to discover the secret formula. The anti-hero would know exactly what it was and steal it. His plan would be to sell it because he has a severe Grarrl Keno habit and he owes a couple of hundred thousand Neopoints to a bad-tempered Jetsam loan shark. If having two villains after this guy isn't fun enough, toss in a bounty hunter paid to track him down and have the Neopian Airlines lose his luggage.

CREATING A STRONG HEROINE

Genderly speaking, heroines are female heroes. Heroines can follow the same basic guidelines as heroes, but with a slight difference. Heroines react more emotionally to what is happening than heroes do. For example, let's say that Florg kidnaps a Snowbunny because he's tired of eating Warfs all the time. A superhero would say, "We must rescue that Snowbunny and bring this evildoer to justice!" A superheroine would say, "He kidnapped a cute, defenseless, fluffy little Snowbunny? Just wait until I get my paws on that rotten mutant brussel sprout!"

There are basically two types of heroines. Those who need to be saved and those that don't. A strong heroine can pretty much take care of herself, and actually gets cranky if guys try to help. Heroines are often more interested in seeing justice done than heroes are. Heroes usually just want to survive the ordeal. Being female is a big ace up the heroine's sleeve because bad guys rarely take them seriously. Then again, if a hero wore pink leotards and carried a rod of superdaisy, I doubt a villain would take him seriously either.

Descriptive words that are often linked to strong heroines are "sassy", "plucky" and "bossy". Strong heroines have a tendency to be more intelligent than anyone else around them. So they spend a lot of their time annoyed at everybody because strong heroines could have the day saved in five minutes flat if they could ever get anybody to listen to them. They also are very rarely loners. It's sort of hard to be bossy when you're the only one around to give orders to.

CREATING A NEEDY HEROINE

Some heroines simply attract bad luck. They can be standing in the middle of Neopia Central during rush hour and they still would be the one that fleeing bank robbers grab as a hostage. Although needy heroines might seem a little on the wimpy side because they require so much rescuing, they can actually be very sympathetic characters. The more sweet, loveable and helpless a heroine is, the worse the bad guy looks in comparison. It's also more of a shock when, through a stroke of incredible luck, she totally wipes the floor with the bad guy.

The success or failure of a story rests squarely on the shoulders of the heroes of the story. If they are boring or predictable, a story can get pretty monotonous. But if you have created an interesting lead character, then you don't even have to work very hard to make a great story. Your hero's personality will tell you what happens next. And if your hero is a gum-chewing janitor, the world could be in for a wild ride.

NEXT WEEK: Generating A Cool Adventure: How To Make Supporting Characters

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